Today I hit the road for Constructing Modern Knowledge. I’m looking forward to meeting a bunch of people and hopefully doing something cool. I’ve known about this conference for a while and I’m looking forward to being inspired by it. That’s my main reason for going to conferences these days. Yes, I expect to learn something, but often, what’s more important is just getting inspired to move forward, to try something new. Not that I think that you can’t try new things without going to something like CMK. There’s the Internet after all, but I think the hands-on aspect is important. It’s clear that many of us think that’s important for our students as we build programs and assignments that focus on hands on work and that force students to think in new ways and build new skills. I think teachers should do that, too. We have to push ourselves out of our comfort zone if we expect our students to do the same.
I also never expect to just learn something by having someone tell me something new. I expect to work at it, to put my own effort in. You get out of any learning experience whatever you put into it. That’s something I’d like to instill in my students as well. I try to model it for them. I try to set up my classes in ways that encourage effort (no lecturing for me), but I hope that they really internalize that lesson. I didn’t really learn that lesson until after college, but it must have been in me just a little before that. I remember in middle school sending away for animals to dissect on my own. And I created restaurants in my basement, took apart and put back together my bike., and made art in various ways. Around high school, I lost that internal desire to learn on my own. Once I regained it, it hasn’t gone away and I look forward to the opportunity to exercise that muscle over the next few days.